Zionsville Education Foundation gives $15K in educator grants

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By Desiree Williams

Lyle Browne, chief operating officer of the Zionsville Education Foundation, visited the March 12 Zionsville school board meeting to discuss the 2018 Imagine Professional Development grants, which are awarded by ZEF every February.

Browne said the grants provide growth and renewal opportunities for teachers in the district by allowing them to pursue projects or attend educational conferences and bring that knowledge back to their students.

“In the past year, I’ve also learned that it’s really a blast to watch our grants kind of grow in a direction that’s unexpected,” she said.

ZEF awarded eight grants this year totaling more than $15,000. Three were given to teachers at Zionsville West Middle School, four to elementary teachers and one to a teacher that will provide for the district.  The grants will fund conference visits, mindfulness training, musical instrument training and videography and photography of Indiana historical sites for Google Expedition tours on VR headsets.

In other news, Mike Shafer, ZCS chief financial officer, presented the district’s updated Standard & Poor’s credit rating. ZCS increased from an AA- rating to an AA, which signifies that the district’s ability to meet financial requirements is very strong. ZCS is only the third public school corporation in Indiana to earn the rating, Shafer said.

“This new rating will get us about 10 basis points better on the interest rate on bonds that are going to be issued, which should work out for taxpayers saving about $30,000,” he said. “We’re really pleased to mention that and any future bonds issues we have, that should cause even greater savings going forward.”

Other highlights:

  • Zionsville resident Jack Moran asked the board about security throughout the district and if there are more safety measures planned in light of recent events. Supt. Scott Robison said there are always police officers in every school and there is a possibility of increasing the amount of dedicated officers.
  • The board voted to offer an early retirement incentive for certified staff. There is one planned retirement and 13 other teachers eligible for retirement.
  • The board authorized the restoration of the varsity gymnasium floor at ZCHS. It will be sanded, stained and recolored for basketball and volleyball.

2018 Imagine Professional Development Grants

  • Stephanie Barrientos, ZWMS, Empowered Changemakers at ILA Summer Convention ($1,539)
  • Ryan Batsie, ZWMS, National Council of Teachers of English Convention ($1,872)
  • Kyle Beimfohr, ZCS, Indiana Historic Virtual Tour ($1,968.75)
  • William Doublestein, BME, Orff-Schulwerk Level 1 Certification Course ($1,266.50)
  • Kathy Drake & Carly Miller, PVE, Everyone Needs a Little TLC ($3,000)
  • Stacey Emmert, ZWMS, Mindfulness Training ($1,050)
  • Stacey Off, UE, The Teacher College Reading & Writing Institute at Columbia University ($1,733)
  • Shelly Steward, UE, Teacher College: Reading Institute ($2,866.26)
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